A.) A true story about a Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the Alps for seventy days, living on the flesh of their deceased teammates?
B.) A true story about a Uruguayan soccer team in the semifinals of the World Cup because of a selfless, heads up, once in a life-time play.
C.) A true story about an American man who watched the Uruguayan soccer team defeat Ghana in the quarterfinals of the World Cup and found a little happiness in this jerk and tug world we live in.
Or just maybe it's...
D.) All of the above.
In basketball there are smart fouls and there are dumb fouls. A glancing blow that doesn’t stop LeBron James from stuffing the ball down your throat and a foul with .3 seconds left in a tie game are dumb fouls. Punching Shaq in the balls so he can’t dunk and instead goes to the line for two free throws, now that’s just smart basketball.
Shaq + Free Throw = Not Free At All
In football, there are good penalties and bad penalties. A wide receiver holding when the play is a sweep in the opposite direction, dump. A corner back holding a wide receiver who is speeding past him for an easy touchdown? Smart.
In soccer, before today, there were only dumb red cards. Not - Any - More. In the past, when someone has cornered you in your cubical and forced you to listen to his retelling of a great soccer play, it was a goal, a save or an unreal move; today it’s a red card.
This red card was for a head butt. Cool.
Today, three minutes into three minutes of extra time, something special happened in the Uruguay Ghana game. I’ll break it down into four parts for you.
1. A ball heads into the back of the Uruguayan net poised to end their World Cup dreams.
2. Luis Suarez, a Uruguayan attacker, reaches up and bats the ball away with his hand. That’s frowned upon. He is given a red card.
3. Suarez, nearly in tears, exits the stadium as Asamoah Gyan misses the ensuing penalty for Ghana. An invigorated Suarez cheers and heads into the locker-room. We’re going to penalty kicks.
4. Uruguay wins in penalties.
Uruguay has this crazy little man to thank for a trip to the final four.
Yes, what Suarez did was a split second reaction, yes, it was “illegal,” possibly the most uncouth thing you can do in a soccer game and, yes, he will be missing the next game for it, but isn’t all that what made it so great? With his team’s World Cup hopes and dreams, dying by the millisecond, he had the smarts to reach up and bat the ball away from his goal. Cons, he gets a red card, so even if his team advances, he doesn’t get to play, and unintelligent observers are going to assume he’s to blame if the ensuing pk goes in. Pros, your team has a one in ten chance to win a game that was as good as over a second before. That’s all you get, but you know what, it’s enough.